Easter Weekend opening for Old Town Gardens cafe

By Barrie Hudson - 24 March 2021


The cafe at Swindon's Town Gardens is to re-open over the Easter Weekend to raise money for Brighter Futures.

  • From left: Ray Norman of Rotary, Anne Norman of Brighter Futures, Cllr Neil Hopkins

    From left: Ray Norman of Rotary, Anne Norman of Brighter Futures, Cllr Neil Hopkins

The Great Western Hospital charity has been chosen by Rotary Cub of Swindon Old Town, whose members will staff the cafe from April 2-5 between 9.30am and 4.30pm.
Anne Norman, Brighter Futures' Commemorative Giving Manager, said: "Brighter Futures are thrilled to be chosen as the charity that Old Town Rotary are raising funds for.
"The funds are going to be used for staff welfare. It's been an incredibly tough year for the whole country but especially for the staff working in the NHS.
"Lots of staff have been redeployed to work on covid wards. All the medical staff have been working incredibly long hours in tough conditions with PPE, and now we need to think about them and how we can help their mental and physical wellbeing going forward."
The money will go toward counselling and other measures to support physical and mental wellbeing.
Ray Norman, President of Rotary Cub of Swindon Old Town, said: "There have been extremely few opportunities to raise money over the last year, as all charities have found.
"As Rotary, we don't raise money for ourselves, but we raise money for other charities, and Brighter Futures is one of our nominated charities for this year.
"This is a real opportunity to make some cash for a deserving cause."
Mr Norman praised Carol Watts, who ran the cafe for many years until recently, who had offered some stock and advice to the volunteers.
South Swindon Parish Council member Neil Hopkins said: "When we realised that the cafe was likely to be unoccupied for the Bank Holiday Weekend over Easter, basically we saw an opportunity to use that to raise funds for charity.
"As a member of Old Town Rotary - and Rotary tends to raise money not for itself but for other charities - I discussed with Chris Watts our chair of the parish and immediately phoned Ray and said, 'How about this? Would you be prepared as Rotary to run the Town Gardens cafe for the Bank Holiday weekend to raise money for charity?
"Assuming the weather's good, we hope to raise several thousand.
"Immediately, Ray said it sounded like a good idea. The one thing about charities during the coronavirus situation and the lockdowns is that the opportunities to raise money have been few and far between.
"As Old Town Rotary, normally we'd be holding the duck race around this time of year, but of course, with the current restrictions we can't. That's had to be moved to the August Bank Holiday."

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